Learning From My Tactical Mistakes

Learning From My Tactical Mistakes

Jul 21, 2015, 6:41 AM |

Everyday I try to do an hour of tactical training. Similar concept to going to the gym to keep in chess shape and be sharp.


I'm currently working through the Blokh Combinational Motifs, where I attempt to solve as many positions as possible by writing down my analysis and comparing to the solution.


This has given me great material to see what tactical patterns I miss and calculation mistakes keep occuring.


Here I present positions I got incorrect on the 15th of July 2015, giving you the chance to solve them and then point out my own short comings and what I learnt

Blokh Diagram 428 Difficulty 10


I had seen up to 1. Nxe5 Nxe5 2. Nf6 Bxf6 3. Bxf6 Qe6 but then stopped here as in my mind's eye I couldn't play Qh6 as the Bf6 is hanging. However, I did not see that the White Bishop can be defended horizontally across the 6th rank after 4. Rxf5 gf
This is an example of stopping half a move short in analysis
Why does this tactic work?
Primarily because of the weak dark squares around Black's castled king and the geometry of a knight fork at f6 (on a dark square). In addition, White's Rook is active on the f-file, allowing support at f6
Blokh Diagram 432 Difficulty 4

I had purely been obsessed with 1. Nxa7 Nxa7 2. cb Qb7 3. ca Qxa7 4. Qe6 that I did not consider Bg2 to allow the c-pawn to advance to c6 with unstoppable threats at b7
This is an example of not considering all candidate moves before hand. This results in going down one path, and trying to make it work
Why does this tactic work?
Weak light squares around the Black king. A deflection of the Queen allowing the pawn to advance at the same time cutting the Queen from the defence of b7. The utter domination of the long white diagonal by White and the stanglehold on c6 and b7
Blokh Diagram 439 Difficulty 4

I only considered 1. ... Bg3 2. Qxg3 Qc1+ 3. Ke2 Qxb2 and stopped there, assessing that Black was winning due to being up the exchange.
However, I missed the deflection tactic of a3 which allows the invasion at c1 and Rb2 falls with check. If I had though backwards to realise the Knight moves to d2 to aid the King, I would have more patiently come up with the idea to deflect with a3 
Why does this tactic work?
Black's control of the c1-h6 diagonal, the weakness of White's 1st and 2nd rank, the advanced a-pawn
Blokh Diagram 445 Difficulty 3
I had seen 1. Qb8+ Ke7 2. Bf6+ Kxf6 3. Qd8+ and then I stopped here as I "felt" the Black King could escape. That is lazy analysis. I failed keep going because I "felt" the Black King had too many escape squares at g7, f6 and f5. 
I also because obsessed with using just two pieces (Queen and Bishop) and not involving my Rook. I failed to see the Rook comes into play along the 3rd rank.
This is a good example of me stopping half a move short
In the end, I chose 1. Bf6 thinking this creates the unstoppable threat of Qb8. However, I did not work hard enough to find the counterstrike by Black with Qb6 exploiting White's own back rank
Why does this tactic work?
Black's own weak back rank, weak dark squares around the Black King, White's lateral control along the 3rd rank, the scattered Black pieces which do not support defence
  • Stopping half a move short in calculation
  • Not considering all candidate moves, falling in love with one move and making one's assessment fit the choice
  • Not working hard enough to find the opponent's counterplay
  • Not involving all pieces in the attack